A minute into second half stoppage time Sunday at Crew Stadium, Eddie Gaven headed Emilio Renteria’s cross just between the near post and Sporting KC’s all-star goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to level the score at 1. Once again, the Crew pulled last-ditch heroics out of nowhere, converting a crushing, possibly season-ending home loss into a frustrating but possibly season-sustaining draw.
It’s been a trend. In recent months, Columbus has repeatedly benefited from magic in a match’s waning moments. As the Crew rests up this weekend to prepare for two remaining regular season games, let’s tour through the breathtaking finishes that have kept this squad within a sniff of the postseason.
Aug. 25: After digging out of a 2-0 hole to seize the lead with three tremendous first-half goals, the Crew was nearly devastated when a questionable 81st-minute penalty kick from New England’s Lee Nguyen knotted the match at 3. BUT! Jairo Arrieta stepped up in the 86th minute to bang home Tony Tchani’s assist and put an exclamation point on the season’s greatest offensive showcase.
Aug. 29: Tied at 1 and playing a man down at Philadelphia after Josh Williams’ red card, most Crew fans would have been OK getting out of there with a draw. BUT! Gaven bagged a rebound goal in the 95th minute, sending the Crew home with a win.
Sept. 1: Scoreless through 72 minutes, things heated up in the wrong way with a Montreal goal at Crew Stadium. BUT! Chad Marshall evened the match in the 80th minute, and Renteria headed home a Federico Higuain cross in stoppage time for another literally last-minute win.
Sept. 19: This one also went scoreless for most of the match; frankly, it was downright ugly. BUT! Arrieta’s canny redirect set up Justin Meram for an 89th-minute score that put the wind back in the Crew’s flagging sails.
Sept. 29: After nabbing a 2-0 lead in the first half, the Crew was sitting pretty until Philadelphia fought back to a 2-2 deadlock in minute 86. BUT! Milovan Mirosevic (who was almost certainly offside, but let’s keep that between you and me) launched a game-winning strike one minute later to seal another win — for the Crew and for manufacturers of blood pressure medication.